Guest Author - Gayle E. Santana
Whenever I travel one of my first—okay, honestly, my very first thought is, “How will I handle my coffee needs?
I get up pretty early in the morning and my cup of coffee is an essential part of my early morning ritual. Running out for coffee in the wee hours is just not possible so I have to be conscious of the how I am going to get it.
Preparing for the Trip
In the old days, I packed up the basics—a can of evaporated milk, a heating element, a jar of instant and a cup. While I did bring most of these items on this trip in case of unforeseen emergencies, I also remained open for other ways of handling my needs.
Knowing I would be going places where there was no coffee maker available, I decided to buy Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew, their new instant that comes in both hot and iced. Having received a Starbucks card for my birthday from family members made it quite convenient as well as economical.
DAY 1—REST STOP:
Our first stop was a highway rest stop. I didn’t have high hopes for coffee here. In fact, I was really expecting something undrinkable. To my surprise, the coffee was quite good. The brand was Douwe Egberts. As I looked for more information about Douwe Egberts, I found the company was owned by the Sara Lee Corporation, just like Pilao, the Brazilian Coffee I enjoyed just last week. It seems that Sara Lee not only makes good cake, they also know a good cup of coffee when they taste it.
Day 2 – HOTEL:
Most hotels have moved up to modern times, providing a coffee maker complete with everything you need for a great cup of coffee right in your room.
The Marriott had a coffee called Pure Elevation, and that it was. A blend of Colombian, Nicaraguan and Sumatran, it was quite good. They also furnished the little half & half containers, so much better than the powdered creamers. Paper cups complete with lids were also available, but l was glad I had my own mug which made my coffee hot and delicious.
Days 3 and 4-FRIENDS' HOME:
The next two days were spent with friends who had a Keurig. Keurig is a single-cup brewing system. The coffee selections come in an air-tight small cup that contains a filter and ground coffee beans. The Keurig machine punctures the cup and sends pressurized hot water through creating a well-infused treat.
I have tried Keurig a few times, but this time I had a chance to try it as my morning cup. This cup was combined with International Delight’s Amaretto creamer. Now I am not a fan of sweet coffee, but the combination of this with Green Mountain’s Island Coconut K-CUP was truly a treat.
Days 5, 6, 7 and 8—NON-COFFEE DRINKING FAMILY
We moved on to the home of family members who do not drink coffee or tea of any kind to get their day started. I often marvel at how this could even be possible. Anyway, it was here that I cracked open the Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew and also had Maxwell House coffee bags on hand. The coffee bags work just like tea bags. Now that I’ve had a chance to compare the two, I choose VIA® over the bags. For me it has a richer flavor. The tea-bag style is weak in comparison.
Day 5—AFTERNOON DELIGHT
On day five in the afternoon, we stopped in at Starbucks. I decided to treat myself to my favorite summer treat, an iced Caramel Macchiato. It was flavorful, smooth and creamy and I just love to eat the ice chips with the residue of sticky caramel at the end.
Day 9 and 10—OH THE HORROR!
We moved on to another coffee-tea free home of other family members and after arriving at this remote location in the dark of night, I realized that I left my coffee supplies at my previous location. I was truly not happy. It was too dark and way too late to go looking for any coffee now.
I woke up at the crack of dawn as I normally do and had to wait hours before I could satisfy my coffee needs. Do I need to express my pain to you? I drank water and although I was feeling very sleepy, I could not go back to sleep, nor was I able to function with my usual early morning clarity. Let’s not even discuss my grumpy mood. We finally went out to breakfast after 10 a.m. and had coffee. Yes, I already know what you are thinking—I need a 12-step program. My family is with you on that one.
I made a beeline for a store immediately after breakfast to buy new coffee supplies. This time I purchased Nescafe instant packs, packaged individually much like Starbucks VIA® . I also purchased International Delight Creamer, this time in the Caramel Machiatto flavor. This was a great combination.
Now I know I was not in the Amazon rainforest or climbing Mount Everest where getting coffee could be a real challenge, but it still took a bit of planning and preparation to meet my coffee needs on the road.
Note: Another way to meet coffee needs without a coffee maker, if you have access to hot (just short of boiling) water is to bring along a French Press.
Sara Lee Corporation Timeline: